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Facing Eviction: How to Get Help

                                          ARE YOU IN DANGER OF BEING EVICTED?

East Palo Alto has rent control and eviction protections. If you are a tenant living in East Palo Alto, it helps to know your rights to protect your home and your wallet. Under the City’s Rent Stabilization and Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance, landlords who seek to evict tenants must do so in compliance with the requirements of the Ordinance. Tenants receiving 3-day notices to quit or unlawful detainer notices from their landlord must respond promptly to protect their home.

To avoid eviction: Pay your rent in full on time, usually by the first of each month. Just because most late fees are not assessed until after the fifth of each month; does not mean that the rent isn’t late.  

    For help paying rent or for free legal services, visit our Housing Assistance & Other Resources Page

Protections against Evictions without Just Cause

Evictions are only permitted for the specific reasons cited in the Ordinance. Evictions not meeting these requirements can be contested in any action to recover possession of a rental unit in court.

1) Landlords must specify at least one of the permitted grounds for eviction listed in the Ordinance in a notice of termination of tenancy or an unlawful detainer action filed with the court. Permitted grounds for eviction include failing to pay rent, violating the lease, or engaging in disorderly or destructive conduct, among other reasons.

2) Tenants should pay rent on time and in full and get a receipt for payment. The failure to pay rent on time and in full is grounds for an eviction, but tenants may have a defense to an unlawful detainer action or complaint for possession if they are being charged more rent than the Maximum Allowable Rent in the certificate issued by the Rent Board for their unit.

3) Tenants may have a defense to an eviction filed in court if the rental property is not in compliance with warranty of habitability requirements, including:

Waterproofing and weather protection of roof and walls, including unbroken windows and doors;
Plumbing or gas facilities maintained in good working order;
*  Hot and cold running water furnished to appropriate fixtures and connected to an approved sewage disposal system.
*  Heating facilities maintained in good working order;
*  Electrical lighting, with wiring and electrical equipment that conformed with applicable law at the time of installation, and is maintained in good working order;
*  Building grounds that are kept in every part clean, sanitary, and free from all accumulations of debris, filth, rubbish, garbage, rodents, and vermin; an adequate number of appropriate receptacles for garbage/rubbish in clean condition and good repair; and
*  Floor, stairways, and railings maintained in good repair.

4) Tenants may have a defense to an eviction filed in court if their landlord does not meet requirements for limiting rent increases only to allowed Annual General Adjustments, and East Palo Alto rent registration requirements. The landlord must file with the Rent Board a copy of any eviction notice within five calendar days after the tenant has been served with such a notice.

5.)  Even if a rental unit has no city permits, landlords may be required to provide tenants with a 30 or 60 day written notice of termination.  If the rental unit is illegal, through no fault of the tenant, a landlord may have to provide a proper written notice of termination of tenancy after the City orders a landlord to remove any occupants from the rental unit.